After 415 days of recovery, recuperation and rehabilitation following a traumatic knee injury, Teddy Bridgewater has been cleared to practice with the Minnesota Vikings.
As first reported by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Bridgewater was officially cleared by his doctor Monday morning, and the Vikings intend to put Bridgewater on the practice field Wednesday when the team begins preparing for its game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Bridgewater has periodically been on the practice fields during his rehab and showed signs of progress. During OTAs, he warmed up with the quarterbacks and threw to receivers. In training camp, he was frequently spotted doing mobility drills with a trainer. As recently as last week, he was seen throwing to members of the training staff and practicing roll-outs.
“It’s all about his dedication, his hard work, his mindset to get back on the playing field, which you knew he would from the very jump,” said defensive end Everson Griffen. “He had faith the whole time, and he believed in himself if nobody else believed in him. I know I believed in him. I know this team believed in him. This organization believed in him.”
Once Bridgewater begins practice, the Vikings have a three-week window during which to activate him to the 53-man roster.
With Sam Bradford’s left knee reportedly receiving blood spinning treatments, it’s uncertain whether he’ll be available anytime soon. The Vikings have rolled the dice with undrafted rookie Kyle Sloter as their primary backup quarterback to starter Case Keenum since Week 2, so activating Bridgewater, at minimum, would provide an upgrade to a more experienced backup. It seems unlikely Bridgewater would be considered for an immediate start after missing nearly one-and-a-half seasons.
Zimmer said the Vikings will ease Bridgewater back into the practice routine.
“He hasn’t practiced in 14 months,” Zimmer said, “so we’re not going to dose him out on Wednesday.”
Bradford, Keenum and Bridgewater are all free agents after this season, so the next 10 games may determine the franchise’s direction at quarterback.